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Power pinned in the braggart soldier: how does plautus use both slave and courtesan to undermine the physical and psychological

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Power Pinned in The Braggart Soldier: How does Plautus use both slave and courtesan to undermine the physical and psychological powers of Pygropolynices? Neither Plautus’s style nor the way he deals with the concept of undermining the physical and psychological powers of Pygroplynices are simple and easily explainable. Braggart soldier or Miles Gloriosus is the protagonist making an entrance pretending to be a Great War hero while the reality is entirely different, his contributions meager. The play portrays the braggart being tricked and exposed by various means however, the key feature is that Plautus uses the characters of slave and courtesan defeat the braggart Pygropolynices both physically and mentally. The slave Palaestrio and the courtesan Acroteleutium are the key elements of the play that are the downfall of the Braggart, and the story involved is somewhat convoluted. Palaestreo is formerly the slave of a young Athenian by the name Pleusicles whose girl friend is Philocomasium. Pyrgopolynices kidnaps the girl and takes up the slave whom he buys from pirates. Palaestreo’s loyalties however lie with Pleusicles and Philocomasium. Pleusicles takes residence in the house adjacent to that of Philacomasium, and meets her secretly through a hole in the wall. However Philacomasiun is witnessed by another slave Sceledrus in the neighbouring house kissing Pleusicles. To escape from this situation Philocomasium , with the suggestion of wise Palaestreo lies saying that her sister Honoria who lives in Athens is in town for a visit, and has been accompanied by her lover and it was them who were seen by the slave. Sceledrus does not trust this story but has to believe since Philacomasium successfully walks in and out of the house through the hole in the wall each time maintaining perfect timing so that it would appear as if there are indeed two sisters. At this point Periplectomeanus who is playing host to both Pyrgopolynices and Philocomasium comes up and yells at Sceledrus for mistreating his lady guest. Palaestreo along with Periplectomeanus and Pleusicles, then comes up with a plan to bring down the Braggart where he finds a courtesan Acroteleutium to pose as Periplectomeanus’s wife , and creates a tale where she is proposing a meeting with Pyrgopolynices who is extremely excited by the thought of adultery and agrees to meet her, where after the soldier gives philacomasiusm everything she wants including Palaestreo so that he can get rid of her and is waiting outside Periplectomeanus’s house where he is found by Periplectomeanus and his cook whereby he is beat by them for making adulterous advances towards a married woman, where the soldier begs them to leave him alone, and after a while is. Sceledrus arrives suddenly and tell the true story behind Pyrgopolynices how he has been tricked mentally and hurt physically as well, where the soldier realizes he has been tricked. Thus Plautus uses both the slave and courtesan to undermine the physical and psychological powers of Pygropolynices. Sources: Plautus. The Braggart Soldier. New York: Oxford U. P., 1996. Print.

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